The Key to Letting In More Love
Opening the heart to forgiveness allows us to live in the present and take control of our life. If we perceive that someone has caused us harm and we choose to forgive them, it is important to understand that we are not condoning them or their behavior. Choosing to forgive someone releases us from the burden of the past so that we no longer allow that situation or person to control our attention and energy.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
— Nelson Mandela
We’ve got to feel it to heal it!
Many people recognize the power of forgiveness and attempt to forgive before they fully process their emotions about what happened. Going through the motions without fully processing our emotions is called Spiritual Bypassing. Many times we can be spiritually bypassing and not even know it. To prevent this, we need to be able to feel and honor all of our emotions—after all, we’ve got to feel it to heal it!
Why must we feel anger to forgive?
As a society, we are just starting to wake up to the importance of expressing anger. Anger, one of the 5 stages of grieving, has gotten a bad wrap because some people experience too much of it and do not work on getting through it. We see rageaholics and are afraid that being angry is not the “right” thing to do. Subconsciously we decide that we never want to be like that and as a result, we end up suppressing our anger. Medical studies also confirm that being bitter can make you sick, and suppressing anger is a sure way to, as the saying goes, “drink poison and hope our enemy dies.”
There are many healthy ways of expressing anger such as voicing our true feelings, talking to a friend, yelling into a pillow, and journaling. Feeling anger and expressing it is an essential step to experience before we can enter into a space of forgiveness.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
I am ready to forgive… now what?
If you can honestly say that you are ready to forgive—if you’ve given yourself time and space to feel anger, and have gone through all of the other stages of grieving—then I invite you to dive right into the practice. However, if you have some more rooting around to do—if you haven’t allowed yourself to feel angry over the situation, or if you are not ready and willing to put the heavy burden of resentment down—then some reflection and digesting is in order. I suggest journaling on each stage of grieving for at least a day before moving on to the next. This can help you unpack some of your emotions, and keep you from using your forgiveness practice as a form of Spiritual Bypassing.
It’s important to remember that forgiveness is a process that takes time. My Forgiveness Meditation has helped me heal some of my deepest wounds—but it didn’t happen after one sitting! I had to re-pattern my brain by practicing it consistently for 30 days. I also revisited the practice as a recharge whenever I found myself harboring any resentment or hurt. After 30 days I had formed new cognitive patterns and was able to practice only whenever resentment or hurt would re-emerge.
To help you get deep into a forgiveness practice, I created a step-by-step recording. It’s a 15-minute guided meditation that features the warm, cosmic sounds of Lightbath.